Narmada Samachar: 16 April 2001
- Killing of Adivasis in Dewas, MP
- SSP-related news
- Water issue
- WCD debate
- Tehri dam
- Feature Article: Havoc of Tipaimukh High Dam Project - Aram Pamei
All this (and more) news can be accessed via the Press Clippings
The NBA press releases are accessible at:
Archives of Narmada Samachar are accessible at:
Killing of Adivasis in Dewas, MP
We have added another report by a four-member team of the 'Rajasthan Kisan Sangathan'. It corroborates the earlier report by 'Jan Sangarsh Morcha' and provides more details. The report is accessible off the main page of the Narmada website and also at: "http://www.narmada.org/related.issues/tribal.issues/rajasthan.kisan.sangathan.report.html"
We have an online web-based petition to send an automatic e-mail to Digvijay Singh, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Please visit "http://www.narmada.org/action.alerts/dewas.alert/ and send an email immediately.
We notice that there is a pattern of discrimination against tribals in
Madhya Pradesh as can be judged by the quick succession of events in the
recent past. These are:
- arrest of tribals and their representatives who were protesting the lack of rehabilitation in the Man dam project.
- the Dewas incidents culminating in the death of four tribals.
- police firing in Chikalda on April 14th when people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project were protesting the lack of rehabilitation.
Please write to the Madhya Pradesh Government about this.
Besides Madhya Pradesh, tribal communities seem to have become easy targets of exploitation around the country. In this edition of Narmada Samachar, we reproduce the letter by the Secretary of Naga Women's Union in Manipur who has written in EPW about the Tipaimukh High Dam Project.
NBA Press ReleaseSupreme Court Again Comes Under Harsh Criticism On Narmada Verdict
Prominent People Ask Court To Make Them Party To Contempt Proceedings
Against Patkar and Roy
Narmada Parikrama Concluded ;
Narmada villagers stop fake survey;
M.P. police fire in air, beat and injure many; Chikhalda people block highway ;
Legal Notice Served To M.P. Dy Chief Minister Jamuna Devi by NBA
and Medha Patkar: 'Apologise Or Face Legal action' ;
Parikrama Update ;
Press ClippingsPatkar dares Supreme Court on Narmada issue ;
Court summons Patkar in NCCL defamation case ;
SC rejects Narmada dam review petition ;
SC rejects review petition in Narmada dam case ;
SC rejects NBA plea for judgment review ;
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has again rejected the Narbada Bachao Andolan's petition seeking a review of its earlier judgment which gave a partial go-ahead for construction of the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat. A Bench, comprising Chief Justice A S Anand, Justice S P Bharucha and Justice B N Kirpal, rejected the review petition, which sought reconsideration of the majority judgment by Justice Anand and Justice Kirpal. Justice Bharucha had dissented on the issue. Justice Anand and Justice Kirpal said they went through the review petition and ``did not find any error apparent on the face of the record which may call for review of the majority judgment''. The Bench said the issue of correctness of the majority judgment raised by the NBA in its review petition was outside the purview of such a petition. Justice Bharucha said as two judges have declined to review it, the petition has to fail. He, however, added that he stood by his dissenting judgment. Justice Bharucha had ordered immediate stoppage of work at the site saying the same could be resumed only after clearance from impact group in the environment ministry. The court by a majority judgment had said construction work to raise the dam's height to 90 metres could be taken up immediately but beyond this, it could be taken up only in stages after getting clearance from environment authorities. The Narmada Tribunal had envisaged 138 metres to be the height of the dam, which would benefit Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
In recent years there has been a growing perception of a looming water scarcity. Water has suddenly become a favoured subject for seminars and conferences all over the world. The UNDP, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are seriously concerned about the projected water scarcity. Academic institutions in several countries are engaged in research programmes on the possibilities of conflict over scarce natural resources, particularly water. There is a currently fashionable thesis that future wars will be fought over water, not oil. That is a debatable proposition, but the prognosis of acute water scarcity in the not too distant future cannot easily be disputed. Several institutions and networks have sprung up to deal with this and related matters: World Water Commission, World Water Council, Global Water Partnership, and so on. A series of ?Water Vision 2025? exercises were undertaken by different countries in south Asia under the auspices of the Global Water Partnership during the last three years in preparation for the World Water Forum held at the Hague in March 2000. The ?Vision? exercises were partly national (India Water Vision, Pakistan Water Vision, etc) and partly thematic (Water for Food, Water for Nature, etc), and these were eventually brought together into a ?South Asia Water Vision 2025? for presentation at the Hague Forum. ....
RAJKOT: Mayor Ashok Dangar seems to be on the warpath against the state government on the issue of water supply. He has threatened to take all Congress corporators to Gandhinagar if the promised 40 lakh gallons of water from the Narmada project was not released to Rajkot. ....
13,133 villages declared drought hit ;
Unrest over water issue growing ;
.... Unfortunately the state government has been unable to provide a suitable solution for the same. Even though Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel is going round the region claiming that the BJP government has been successful in bringing Narmada waters to the parched lands, in reality the waters have not been able to quench the thirst of even one-third of the people. .... Narmada waters have been provided to major towns like Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Amreli but the people of thousands of small towns and villages continue to make walk miles to fetch a pot of water. According to district collectors and corporation officials of these three districts, waters have not yet reached in the quantum promised. The mere trickle does not help in the distribution process leaving all dissatisfied. .... The hype created on Narmada waters has proved to be too shortlived as the waters have been unable to quench the thirst of people and cool the frayed tempers of citizens of Saurashtra.
RAJKOT: Despite Narmada waters reaching Amreli, it has not been possible for the nagarpalika to supply water to residents regularly. The problem is that the civic body does not have the necessary equipment to supply water. ....
BHAVNAGAR: Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has claimed that availability of the Narmada waters would usher in prosperity among the people of Saurashtra and Kutch regions, who were facing perennial shortage of drinking water. While dedicating supply of Narmada waters at Sidsar sump to 6 lakh residents of Bhavnagar recently, he said if the earlier governments had taken proper action, the water shortage would not have assumed such a critical dimension. ....
VMC to issue tax-free municipal bonds ;
VADODARA: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will soon issue tax-free municipal bonds in order to achieve the development plans in the 'Budget 2001-2002' and also gather money for its plan to draw water from the Narmada Dam on a regular basis. ....
Equity, efficiency, participatory decision-making, sustainability and accountability are the core issues to be addressed in building new large dams, according to a surprisingly refreshing consensus report of the World Commission on Dams.
..... The mandate given to WCD was: (1) To review of development effectiveness of large dams and assess alternatives for water resources and energy development. (2) To develop internationally acceptable criteria, guidelines and standards, where appropriate, for the planning, design, appraisal, construction, operation, monitoring and decommissioning of dams. The commission, by itself was ill-equipped to analyse and study the data available on the development effectiveness of large dams. But, it could have used authentic information already available with various international organisations like, International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) (with 80 national committees), the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) (which too, has 94 national committees); Project Evaluation Reports of World Bank, etc, to arrive at conclusions instead of relying on the reports and submissions of the NGOs who have their own limited and to some extent 'skewed' perceptions on the subject and lacked a thorough knowledge and expertise needed for guiding such a body. The commission has indicated that its knowledge base consisted of eight case studies of large dams (out of these seven dams were planned and developed 20-70 years ago and are not recent ones), overall country review of India and China and cross-check survey proforma filled for 125 dams out of the existing 45,000 dams the world over. Thus, the WCD?s wisdom in suggesting/recommending 'an agenda for change' is based on just a tiny fraction, i e, a quarter per cent, of case studies as compared to the present dam-affected population. For India, the country reviews were prepared mostly by people of limited field knowledge who ignored even the comments on the factual aspects of the country's development furnished by the government of India. The statistics provided in the report are open to many serious doubts particularly with regard to displacement of people affected by large dams (reportedly 40-80 million worldwide). The analysis of the data furnished indicates that displacement due to the dams in the rest of the world other than India and China prior to 1986 is almost nil, thus, exposing the fallacy of the statements made in the report. Similar disinformation is rampant in the report particularly with regard to Sardar Sarovar Project (Gujarat) for which one of the members of the commission has nothing but 'rabid hate'. Thus, the data base on which the commission built-up its theories on large dams suffer not only from inaccuracies and inconsistencies, rocking the very foundation of their conclusions, but also from the mindset to perceive with objectivity. The commission should have studied and evaluated at least the availability of water in the world?s different regions without storage and the minimum amount of water needed to support the concerned population, before embarking on the negative impacts of the large dams and rushing to conclusions. It should have also carried out a study of the beneficial impact and the number of people benefited in comparison to the people displaced so as to make the report a balanced one. As regards the mandate to assess alternatives for development, WCD has failed in making an objective and scientific assessment. The efficacy of small scale local solutions to meet the growing demand in the developing countries, has not been evaluated. Instead, ?over-optimistic? views of the future economies of largely untested technologies have been advanced in the report. As regards the second task of developing guidelines, etc, the report fails to offer technical criteria and standards for the planning, design, construction, etc, including decommissioning of dams. Instead, it focuses principally on 'what needs to be done differently'. The commission's decision-making framework is based on five-core values - equity, sustainability, efficiency, participatory decision-making and accountability. However, while applying the concepts of equity and participatory decision-making, the commission appears to have been concerned only with the groups adversely affected by the dams and have, rather, preferred to ignore the beneficiaries who are also stakeholders. Similarly, while considering the sustainability criterion, the need of water scarce areas for fresh water input from outside to supplement their needs, has been totally ignored in the report. The commission has also not appreciated the compulsions of the developing countries - such as, the widespread underemployment and migration of rural labour, particularly tribals and weaker sections of the society in arid regions to faraway places for livelihood during non-monsoon months for want of irrigation, related works. The decision-making process recommended by the commission, such as, 'free, prior and informed consent', is also impractical and totally negates regional and national planning for economic development. The WCD has not been able to produce a report as per the mandate given to it. Its contents are full of generalities, not based on facts, the data quoted are selective, information provided is misleading and the conclusions drawn are biased. [The views expressed by the author are his own and not necessarily of his employer/government of India.]
THE issue of big dams has always been a matter of controversy and the Tehri dam, under construction now for nearly three decades, has had its share of disputes as well. However, the recent entry of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in the discourse has not only obfuscated the real issues, such as the seismicity of the dam area and the rehabilitation of the displaced population, but given a religious twist and a saffron hue to the controversy. ....
Compromise formula on Tehri to avert VHP stir ;
Panel to review Tehri dam ;
Feature Article: Havoc of Tipaimukh High Dam Project - Aram Pamei
Economic and Political Weekly - March 31, 2001
The Naga Women Union, Manipur, would like to appeal to all like-minded people to intervene and stop the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government of Manipur and the North-Eastern Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO) concerning the proposed Tipaimukh rock-filled high dam. There has been no other more dreaded state-sponsored human rights abuse than the Tipaimukh high dam on Ahu (Barak) river located about 500 metres downstream of the confluence of the Tuivai and Ahu (Barak) rivers on the Manipur-Mizoram border. The proposed 162.80 metres high dam, whose primary objective is to prevent frequent occurrences of flood in the Cachar plain of Assam, will result in permanent submergence of 275.50 sq kms of land surface in Manipur. This is against the National Land Use Policy. The Manipur people's constitutional rights were circumvented by secret approval of the project given during the period of central rule in Manipur, according to a statement given on the floor of the Manipur state assembly by the then minister of irrigation and flood control, government of Manipur, L Chandramani Singh. The government of Manipur is at present attempting to sign the MoU with NEEPCO without the participation of the people, particularly the affected people of Tamenglong district. The main sources of livelihood of the people are agriculture and horticulture. But with the construction of the Tipaimukh high dam more than 67 villages will be deprived of their source of livelihood. Out of the 67 villages, 16 will be completely submerged, whereas almost the entire lowland of the rest of the villages will be submerged by the dam along the banks of the three major river courses of Manipur - the Ahu (Barak), the Alang (Irang) and Makhu (Makru) river systems which run through the length of Tamenglong district of Manipur. Besides, it is feared that many more villages may be affected by the water level of the reservoirs during the rainy seasons. Thus the villages of Tamenglong district will face a constant threat of submergence. As a result of such massive submergence and displacement, the economic life of the people with a heavy dependence on the surrounding forests will be jeopardised. Over 15,000 people will be the direct victims of the dam and will be rendered landless and homeless. They will be deprived of their ancestral rights to their land and forest without any alternative source of livelihood. They will be robbed of their natural heritage - their access to natural resources, their land and forests which constitute the mainstay of any tribal economy. The implementation of the Tipaimukh high dam will destroy all potential of the Ahu (Barak) catchment area forever. The dam will mean virtually the total destruction of the world of the Zeliangrong people. The project will submerge altogether 60 kms of National Highway No 53, the only alternative lifeline to NH-39 (the Imphal-Dimapur road) at three different points with two major bridges. The Zeliangrong people who live in these areas, like any other tribal people, do not lead an individualised, commodity-governed life, but live in a well knit web of community life. Their ancestral emotional bonds to their land, the mother-earth, constitute their cultural and psychological frame of mind and they cannot be compromised or negotiated. The submergence of the Ahu (Barak) waterfalls, the biggest and the most beautiful natural gift in Manipur, will destroy an important aspect of their heritage - the innumerable myths and legends woven around the waterfalls, which are an inalienable part of their bank of memories, inherited through centuries. The high watermark of the dam will also destroy five most important lakes located just above the Ahu waterfall where the magical sword of Jadonang, the national hero of the Nagas, is believed to be hidden. All these priceless and inalienable parts of their cultural heritage cannot be left to mindless destruction by the dam project authorities. The long stretch of the reservoir of the 162.80 metres high dam will further divide the people in terms of geo-administrative units, thereby making them politically vulnerable to outside influence and domination. The implementation of the project and its consequent displacement and destruction pose a grave threat to the people's vibrant democratic system of consensual decision-making regarding their lives. We are concerned over the way the Tipaimukh high dam project authorities are out to play with and devastate the land and forests and the fabric of the lives of the Zeliangrong as well as the Hmar people. The Brahmaputra Board, Guwahati, the Central Water Commission, New Delhi, the North-Eastern Council, Shillong, and the North-Eastern Electrical Power Corporation, Shillong are all party to this plan of virtual genocide of the tribal people in the north-east. This is clearly discernible from their secretive ways of planning and implementation, their holding back every bit of information, their rejection of the local people's participation and their total disregard for the tribal people's national and cultural heritage. From our own visit and observation as well as the reports available to us, it is absolutely clear that the Tipaimukh high dam project site is located on a major seismic zone No V characterised by earthquakes of magnitude 7 or more on the Richter scale and which has experienced more than five such earthquakes. The most recent earthquake that took place on April 5, 1999 measured 5 on the Richter scale. The catastrophic 1984 Silchar earthquake was well within the Surma basin, Nungma thrust, Ahu (Barak)-Makhu (Makru) thrust, etc. The fact that the dam rests on a fault line which is occupied by the river (Ahu) itself makes it prone to reactivation any time, causing vertical lateral displacement along the pre-existing faults and thrusts. This suggests that tremendous damages cannot be ruled out. A rock-filled dam upto a height of 162.80 metres has not yet been attempted anywhere. Hence the dam's structural design in the geologically unstable area is questionable and the project authorities must be held directly responsible for engineering such natural calamities. The earthquake at Uttarkashi hit the conscience of certain environmentally-committed engineers who immediately organised the National Convention of Environmental Engineers at Mangalore on October 28-29, 1991. This convention passed a number of important resolutions two of which are as follows: (1) Environmental Impact Appraisal of all major developmental projects such as industries, power plants and river projects should be made mandatory. (2) Environmental Impact Appraisal reports submitted by proponents of projects should be made public and public debate invited in the concerned regions. Manipur also falls in one of the genetic hot spot zones of the world where rare biodiversity resources are found. The project will submerge the exotic and rare flora and fauna and rich gene pools. Instead of conducting an up to date survey, the project authorities simply refer to the early botanical survey record of the region (Flora of British India, 1872-1897) and maintain no record of plant gathering and animal hunting with reference to Tipaimukh project. In view of the above, the Naga Women Union, Manipur would like to appeal all the like-minded individuals, groups and organisations to please send airmail letters/telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/e-mails addressing the following issues: (1) The policy to control frequent flooding of the Cachar plain at the cost of the traditional dwellers of Tamenglong district, which will effect a permanent submergence of 275.50 sq km of land surface or more along the Barak basins is against the National Policy of Land Use. (2) The resolution of the National Convention of Environmental Engineers, Mangalore, 1991 that that Environmental Impact Appraisal of all major projects should be made mandatory which was supported by the statement of the president, K R Narayanan, made on the eve of the Republic Day that the livelihood and unique culture of the tribals should be protected when development projects are undertaken in areas inhabited by them. (3) Meaningful investigations into the flora and fauna of the area, the lifestyles and the socio-cultural and economic heritage of the people to be displaced and/or affected be undertaken. (4) All reports be made public and public debate on the issues involved be invited. (5) The proposed signing of the MoU between the government of Manipur and NEEPCO be stopped immediately until all feasibility reports are made available and all investigations in respect of the social, economic, cultural, geological, environmental and ecological impact on the people and the areas are carried out, completed and discussed in full knowledge, cooperation and participation of the local people, especially the Zeliangrong and the Hmar people whose lives are at stake. Aram Pamei Secretary, Naga Women's Union, Manipur, Imphal